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Ray Demski's icy night shoot

Red Bull Illume recently caught up with Ray Demski, finalist from the 2010 Image Quest, to discuss his latest night ice shoot...



What was the idea behind the shoot?
I wanted to bring a different look to ice climbing, lighting an entire ice fall with high quality light to bring out the magic of the ice to create some stunning images! The whole idea started to form last Autumn while shooting bouldering in the Himalaya with Bernd Zangerl and Alex Luger. We did a night highball shot with flashes that got me thinking... that would be amazing to do with Ice!


Were you hanging from a rope to get the shots? 

All of the images from above were shot while hanging from a rope anchored from the cliff above the icefall.  The other shots were done from the bridge.



How was that? 

We had very solid anchors and a backup, so pretty much daily business.


Are you a climber? 

Yes, more than anything else I love to get outside and go climbing!


How cold was it? 

Probably bottomed out around -18°c, cold enough to keep you awake!



What equipment did you use? 

Along with all the climbing and rope access gear, I used the Phase One iq180, 80 mp back on the 645DF camera with Schneider Kreuznach and Phase One lenses all packed into an F-stop Kenti for easy access.
 Lighting was entirely Broncolor, with three of the new Move 1200L battery units. We used two with the new Para 88 reflectors and one alternately with a standard reflector or bare bulb. We also had a few of the Broncolor Kobold units for working light and the video crew.



How was it shooting with the Move?

This was my first time working with the Move, with a full 1200 w/s in such a small and light package it´s a dream for location work. First time I picked it up it felt so light I had to check if the battery was really in!
 The new heads are also very small and light, making it all very portable without technical compromise.



Towards the end of the shoot, we used just one unit for the action portraits with 2 Para 88 reflectors, trying out the full asymmetrical capability of the unit, just amazing flexibility! 
The blazingly fast flash durations completely froze the water and snow as it flew through the air, like no other battery flash I´ve ever used.



Were you happy with the shots? 

Very much so!  




What's next for you? 

After this shoot I had 3 weeks straight of shooting in the mountains for commercial clients. I have some exciting plans for expeditions this year and am also looking forward to doing further episodes of the Ice nights project!



Have you entered Red Bull Illume?

I´m putting together my selection to enter Red Bull Illume at this moment! 




See the full results of Ray's cool shoot over on his website.
The featured behind the scenes video was produced by LM-Media.

© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Ray Demski / Climber:  Alex Luger
© Thomas Schermer /
© Thomas Schermer /

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© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Content Pool

Barrel of Fire: A Human Torch Goes Big-wave Surfing

Two action sports photographers, Tim McKenna and Ben Thouard recently captured some unique shots – of a surfer on fire. The surfer, Jamie O'Brien, is known as a barrel-riding master, movie producer, web series guru and all-round game changer. What people might not know is that Jamie O’Brien is also a complete madman.

After asking fans for stunt ideas for his original web series, he received a direct message on Instagram: “They said ‘it would be cool if you lit yourself on fire’ and I thought, might as well. So I went into Red Bull and I said ‘hey, I want to light myself on fire and go into a barrel at Teahupo’o,’ and they looked at me like are you for real?” Jamie recalls.

He was for real.

Over the course of the next 12 months, Jamie prepared for the challenge of his life – to ride a notoriously ferocious wave that happens to break over an extremely shallow, sharp coral reef off the coast of Tahiti – while on fire.

A year of preparation and numerous safety tests later, Jamie and his nearly 25-strong team were ready to make his fiery surfing dream a reality. “They were telling me how some people panic and react differently around the fire. So I was like god I hope I don’t panic,” says O’Brien. He didn’t, and the result was indescribable. “When you’re on fire in the barrel, the whole wave lights up fluorescent orange. It’s a really crazy feeling that you can’t even explain.”

It’s not an easy (or safe) process, but the result is a brilliantly illuminated surfer in the middle of the dark ocean. “It was pretty insane,” he says.

Check out Tim McKenna's and Ben Thouard's unique shots in the gallery below.

© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool
© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool
© Ben Thouard / Red Bull Content Pool
© Tim McKenna / Red Bull Content Pool

Black and white photography in skateboarding

In the next video in our Throwback series, Red Bull Illume photographer Fred Mortagne talks us through his passion for shooting black and white film and why he prefers to capture images that are not perfect replicas of reality. Despite his passion for analog, the Leica M Monochrom has tempted him to convert to shooting black and white digital as well. 

© Jair Bortoleto

A B&W Surf Photography Odyssey

Red Bull Illume photographer Jair Bortoleto began his journey becoming one of the most prolific Brazilian surf photographers by shooting exclusively in B&W. Our team caught up with Jair to discuss his style & his journey…   

“B&W is my color. It's where I identify my style and aesthetics. I think you actually can see color in a black and white photograph!” says Jair. “I don't believe in a perfect shot. A lot of photographers look for the perfect shot, and I think it's impossible. We are imperfect human beings and it's impossible to create something perfect. What I believe it's in the pureness in the imperfection. We can be pure, at least a bit, and find this gap on the imperfection to create something unique, imperfect, but unique.”

It all started at a young age…
“I started taking photos when I was 9 years-old. My mom gave me a broken Yashica camera. Yes, broken... I used to run around the neighbor faking news photos!” laughs Jair.  

“After living in the metropolis of São Paulo, my family moved to the coast, where I fell deeply into surfing and surfed my brains out for years. When I was 18, I went to Peru and Hawaii to surf, and took a point-and-shoot camera with me. After coming back some friends told me that I had a good eye for it!”


The age of B&W…
“I lived for a few months in Boston and fell in love with black and white photography. I soon started to shoot B&W exclusively. In 2005, after getting married in my local town of Santos, I started a photo project about the surf lifestyle in the city and shot the most iconic surfers from Santos, where the surf born in Brasil in the 30's. I published a book a year later and then kept shooting, contributing for various magazines and some group shows around the world in the following years.”

“In 2010 I was invited to become the editor of The Surfer's Journal Brasil, which would be released in 2011. I learned how to edit a magazine from the beginning. My teacher was the legendary editor Adrian Kojin. I scored the first cover shoot with a photo of João Mauricio Jabour, father of North Shore local hero Kiron Jabour."


Current events…
"Right now I am working for Romeu Andreatta, editing and curating the Almasurf platform. I also just had my first real solo exhibition in NYC at the Picture Farm Gallery in Brooklyn, curated by legendary editor Toddy Stewart…

Stoked!"


Be sure to follow Jair’s journey via his website.

© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto
© Jair Bortoleto

Freezing the 400m Hurdle Champion Kariem Hussein

Red Bull Illume photographer Gian Paul Lozza recently completed a cool shoot with Kariem Hussein, the European Champion of 400m hurdles, using the broncolor Scoros.

“For some time now I was preparing this shoot with Kariem. He is an amazing guy and really cool to work with. It is obvious that we tried to capture his speed and especially his jumping over hurdles. But as always, I tried to do it differently,” says Gian Paul Lozza.

“Under the Ahtletic stadion in Zurich we found a perfect location for this shoot. There is a concrete tunnel with an indoor running track. We had different ideas of what we wanted to try out. One was to work with reflecting tape and reflective clothing. Another idea was to do something with mirrors and to finish, a classic, the all-in-one sequence.”

“As always when I want to capture something fast, I use the broncolor Scoros. This power packs together with Pulso Twin heads works perfectly if you need a lot of power and you want to freeze motion. And because I shoot everything with my Hasselblad with their bigger chip, I need even faster flash duration. The only way to control this, is bron’s cut off technichnology which is unbeatable.”

“For the sequential goal I needed power packs, which can recharge super-fast but also a lot of power, because I wanted to close aperture as much as possible to freeze the motion. For these kind of ideas, the Scoros with Twin heads are the perfect solution. Superfast recharging time with a lot of power. I’m used to capture these all-in-one sequences from my time as a snowboard photographer with natural light, but now it is cool to do the same with flashes. It opens a lot of new possibilities and I can develop new ideas to create images.”

This article originally appeared on the broncolor blog.

© Gian Paul Lozzabroncolor
© Gian Paul Lozzabroncolor
© Gian Paul Lozzabroncolor
© Gian Paul Lozzabroncolor
© Claudio Casanova

The Return Of The Ring of Fire


After recently showcasing an epic shoot by Claudio Casanova, the Red Bull Illume photographer has shared two more interesting shots with us and explained how he pulled them off with the help of his crew.

Steel wool shot:

“Roger nailed it in this session on what was arguably the smallest jump we've ever shot with this air method. This photo was taken just outside my hometown of Einsiedeln. I had the idea long before I scouted the spot and was lucky to find this tunnel just a short drive away from my house. Thanks to a very long exposure time it seems as if Roger was jumping through a ring of fire, but in reality the circle you see was drawn by myself before I snapped the picture as Roger hit the jump.

The effect of fire was simply made by a piece of burning steel wool attached to a wire whip which was tied to a rope. I triggered the camera via Pocket Wizard, fireman Deniz lit it up and I started swinging. After a couple of seconds of swinging I ran off and cleared the jump for the riders. Luck was also on our side due to the fact that we had a full moon that night, so no extra lights for the riders were needed.

Almost everything was perfect, which is rarely the case when shooting snowboarding!”


Flares shot:

“For this project the timing was really crucial as we only had 30 seconds for the whole procedure. We built a perfectly symmetrical jump and started sessioning it as I positioned the camera. After we knew the approximate height of the jump, we set up a little scaffolding on a table I could perform my display of firework magic.

For this photo of Deniz, Mike was standing by the camera to check if the flashes and camera were working and gave a 30 second countdown for me to light the flare and start the exposure. Everything from removing the scaffolding to the rider dropping in was set to happen at a certain time during this countdown. If there were any delay it would not have worked.

The only source of light for the rider in the run in was a small headlamp, which also worked as an indicator in the shot if the action was captured at the right moment. As we were clearing the jump for the rider, Deniz was already getting closer. I rushed over to my flash setup and got ready to shoot. As soon as Deniz busted out his method, I fired the flash thus freezing a single shot into the long exposure photo.

We had a good feeling about this one so we rushed down to check the photo. All we heard was, “BOOM! That's the one!”… The position of the rider inside the ring was perfect and not something to take for granted. Most likely it would’ve taken another 50 tries to get it right like that!”


Be sure to check out Claudio’s website.

© Claudio Casanova

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